Van der Haar wins second straight 'cross World Cup

Just six days after taking the biggest win of his career at the opening World Cup round in Valkenburg, Lars van der Haar (Rabobank Development Team) repeated the performance in round two in Tabor, Czech Republic. The 22-year-old Dutchman outsprinted German champion Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) for the win after the pair had been off the front since the second lap. Eleven seconds later Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team) prevailed in his two-up sprint against French champion Francis Mourey (FDJ) to claim third place and his second straight World Cup podium of the season.

"I thought [last] Sunday was the best day of my life but today I again felt really good and we could stay away," said Van der Haar. "I've never sprinted against Philipp and he has won sprints on the road but I knew if I could come out of the corner correctly I had a really good shot at winning. But you never know against such a strong rider like Philipp, but now I know."

Having won each of the two World Cup rounds contested thus far Van der Haar leads the overall series with the maximum of 160 points. And as Walsleben and Pauwels have both been on the podium at each World Cup as well, each with a second and third place result, they hold second and third with an equal tally of 135 points.

Van der Haar and Walsleben proved to be the class of the field in Tabor as they rode away from their rivals on the second of nine laps on the fast circuit and at one point enjoyed a lead of 34 seconds over their pursuers. Van der Haar's victory was not without its difficult moments, however, as he made a mental error and crashed on a downhill right turn on the fourth lap. He kept his cool, though, as he extracted his bicycle from the mesh course fencing and began his pursuit of Walsleben.

"I had a problem with my derailleur," said Van der Haar. "The cable was loose, I looked at it but I forgot to turn so I crashed."

Such was their lead that Van der Haar had not been caught by the chasers and at lap's end he trailed the German champion by 13 seconds. Pauwels, who himself had crashed on the previous lap, now chased alone in third at 21 seconds while an eight-man group containing virtually all of the pre-race favourites trailed at 28 seconds.

Not in that chase group, however, was world champion Sven Nys (Crelan KDL) who once again suffered bad luck in his World Cup campaign having crashed on the lap at virtually the same time as Van der Haar. Nys didn't finish last weekend after a broken chain ended his race, which had already been marred by a crash as well. Today the 'cross superstar never bounced back from his crash and ultimately finished a lowly 22nd place at 2:28 off the pace.

Meanwhile, Van der Haar made a remarkable chase to once again join Walsleben at the head of the race at the end of the fifth lap. They led a four-man chase group by 24 seconds containing Pauwels, Mourey, Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus), and Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team) while a second chase group comprised of the Czech Republic's Martin Bina (Kwadro-Stannah), Bart Aernouts (AA Drink) and Corne Van Kessel (Telenet-Fidea) followed eight seconds later.

"It was crazy hard [to catch back] - I knew Philipp was really, really good," said Van der Haar of his pursuit of Walsleben. "I knew if I kept the gas full-open I'd have a chance of coming back because he was tired as well. I had no other option - I had to try."

Mourey attacked his three Belgian companions and at the end of the sixth lap he was alone in third, 14 seconds down on Van der Haar and Walsleben and 14 seconds ahead of the Belgian triumvirate of Vantornout, Albert and Pauwels.

Nys wasn't the only 'cross star who had a disastrous outing the previous weekend as Mourey withdrew after a crash mangled his rear derailleur. Mourey once again had issues this week as his attempt to bridge to Van der Haar and Walsleben came to an ignominious end due to a mechanical early on the seventh lap. The French champion had to get off his bike to fix a dropped chain and then fell while remounting as the three Belgians stormed past.

Mourey caught back on, though, and as the Belgians looked around at each other regarding who was responsible for setting the pace they were joined by Bina, Aernouts and Van Kessel to form a seven-man chase group in arrears of Van der Haar and Walsleben. Such was the degree of their stalemate that at the end of the lap they trailed the two leaders by 34 seconds.

Mourey would surge again on the penultimate lap which shattered the seven-man chase group. Vantornout was able to keep pace with the Frenchman while Pauwels and Bina chased just seconds back. Pauwels would rid himself of the Czech rider and bridge across to Mourey and Vantornout.

Near the end of the lap at the head of the race Van der Haar put in a strong attack as Walsleben went into the second pit for a new bike but by the time the Dutchman reached the finish line to hear the bell for the concluding lap the German champion had regained contact.

The Mourey group followed at 26 seconds while Albert, Bina and Aernouts crossed the finish line five seconds later.

For the bulk of the final lap Van der Haar remained glued to the wheel of Walsleben and for a moment, as their pace slackened, it appeared that the Mourey-led chase may make contact on the quick, grassy parcours. They stepped on the gas enough, however, to ensure their escape would continue through to the finish line. Walsleben led Van der Haar onto the asphalt for the finishing sprint but the punchy Dutchman proved too fast and came around the German for his second World Cup victory in as many outings this season.

Mourey jumped yet again on the final lap with only Pauwels able to respond to his attack. The two remained together until the approach to the second pit where Pauwels surged and got a gap. The Sunweb-Napoleon Games Belgian then kept Mourey at bay onto the asphalt finishing straight to earn the final podium position 11 seconds behind Van der Haar and Walsleben. Mourey followed in fourth at 12 seconds while Vantornout held on for fifth at 24 seconds.

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Full Results
1Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank Development Team1:09:06
2Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus
3Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team0:00:11
4Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ.fr0:00:12
5Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team0:00:24
6Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team0:00:27
7Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team0:00:31
8Martin Bina (Cze) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team0:00:36
9Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:00:51
10Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Selle Italia-Guerciotti0:00:55
11Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team
12Egoitz Murgoitio (Spa) Grupo Hirumet Taldea0:01:06
13Martin Haring (Svk) CK Banska Bystrica0:01:15
14Thijs Al (Ned) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:01:19
15Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank Development Team0:01:20
16Simon Zahner (Swi) EKZ Racing Team
17Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team
18Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles0:01:37
19Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team0:01:52
20Micki Van Empel (Ned) Crelan KDL Cycling Team0:01:59
21Wietse Bosmans (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team0:02:06
22Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan KDL Cycling Team0:02:28
23Mariusz Gil (Pol) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team0:02:29
24Lubomir Petrus (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team
25Marco Ponta (Ita) Centro Sportivo Esercito0:02:41
26Michael Wildhaber (Swi) Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team0:03:17
27Twan van den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team0:03:26
28Robert Gavenda (Svk) Dukla Trencin Trek0:03:33
29Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team0:03:46
30Marcel Meisen (Ger) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team0:03:58
31Jonathan Page (USA) Fuji-Spy-Competitive Cyclist0:04:06
32Vladimir Kyzivat (Cze) Johnsons Controls AS Mlada Boleslav0:04:25
33Jordy Luisman (Ned) Team Lemelerveld0:04:39
34Arnaud Jouffroy (Fra) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:04:43
35Magnus Darvell (Swe) Team Kalas Merida0:04:45
36Sascha Weber (Ger) Team Differdange-Losch0:04:47
37Ondrej Bambula (Cze) CEZ Cyklo Team Tabor0:05:04
38Ole Quast (Ger) Stevens Racing Team0:05:09
39Yannick Mayer (Ger) Team Baier Landshut0:05:41
40Milan Barenyi (Svk) Trek KCK Oslany0:06:03
41Kenneth Hansen (Den) Cannondale-Haderslev0:06:14
42Michal Malik (Cze) KC Kooperativa SG Jablonec0:06:57
43Vaclav Metlicka (Svk) Johnsons Controls AS Mlada Boleslav-1lap
44Jan Nesvadba (Cze) Madeta Fitness-Specialized
45Filip Adel (Cze) KC Hlinsko
46Radomir Simunek (Cze) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team-2laps
47Marco Bianco (Ita) Carraro Team Trentino
48Joachim Parbo (Den) Hammel CK
49Lukas Batora (Svk) CK Banska Bystrica-3laps
50Christoph Ambroziak (Ger) Gunsha Racing Team
DNFBart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team
DNFTom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team
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World Cup standings after round two
1Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank Development Team160pts
2Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus135
3Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team135
4Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team115
5Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team103
6Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team90
7Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team88
8Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Selle Italia-Guerciotti88
9Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team86
10Egoitz Murgoitio (Spa) Grupo Hirumet Taldea76
11Thijs Al (Ned) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team75
12Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank Development Team70
13Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team70
14Simon Zahner (Swi) EKZ Racing Team68
15Martin Haring (Svk) CK Banska Bystrica67
16Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles65
17Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ.fr60
18Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team60
19Mariusz Gil (Pol) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team58
20Wietse Bosmans (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team57
21Marcel Meisen (Ger) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team56
22Twan van den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team55
23Lubomir Petrus (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team53
24Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team50
25Marco Ponta (Ita) Centro Sportivo Esercito50
26Michael Wildhaber (Swi) Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team48
27Martin Bina (Cze) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team46
28Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team44
29Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team42
30Jonathan Page (USA) Fuji-Spy-Competitive Cyclist41
31Fabien Canal (Fra) ASPTT Definitive Tec39
32Ondrej Bambula (Cze) CEZ Cyklo Team Tabor39
33Arnaud Jouffroy (Fra) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team35
34Sascha Weber (Ger) Team Differdange-Losch34
35Vladimir Kyzivat (Cze) Johnsons Controls AS Mlada Boleslav33
36Micki Van Empel (Ned) Crelan KDL Cycling Team31
37Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan KDL Cycling Team29
38Magnus Darvell (Swe) Team Kalas Merida29
39Kenneth Hansen (Den) Cannondale-Haderslev26
40Robert Gavenda (Svk) Dukla Trencin Trek23
41Andreas Moser (Swi) Zaunteam Mittelland22
42Vaclav Metlicka (Svk) Johnsons Controls AS Mlada Boleslav20
43Jordy Luisman (Ned) Team Lemelerveld18
44Yannick Mayer (Ger) Team Baier Landshut18
45Lukas Winterberg (Swi) MG Cycling Team17
46Javier Ruiz de Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa) MMR Spiuk15
47Joachim Parbo (Den) Hammel CK14
48Marco Bianco (Ita) Carraro Team Trentino14
49Ole Quast (Ger) Stevens Racing Team13
50Milan Barenyi (Svk) Trek KCK Oslany11
51Michal Malik (Cze) KC Kooperativa SG Jablonec9
52Inigo Gomez Elorriaga (Spa) Bioracer-Caravanos Erandio9
53Yu Takenouchi (Jpn) Colba-Superano Ham8
54Jan Nesvadba (Cze) Madeta Fitness-Specialized7
55Jon Gomez Elorriaga (Spa) Bioracer-Caravanos Erandio7
56Filip Adel (Cze) KC Hlinsko6
57Radomir Simunek (Cze) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team5
58Angus Edmond (NZl)5
59Christoph Ambroziak (Ger) Gunsha Racing Team5
60Lukas Batora (Svk) CK Banska Bystrica2

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